With Britain still in the grip of an on-going housing crisis, property developers Romal Capital sought the views of the British public on regenerating derelict land and brownfield sites. The national survey* found that 59% of Brits are calling for derelict land to be converted into modern, efficient housing and a place for cultural landmarks.
More the three-quarters (77%) feel that when brownfield sites are regenerated, they bring a sense of freshness, art and culture to an area improving the lives of everyone around it. However, as these sites stand, 74% believe that derelict sites are eyesores on the nations landscape.
Romal Capital’s survey reported that over four-fifths (83%) of respondents feel Westminster governments have failed to prioritise regenerating brownfield sites in their area, in recent years. People in the North East of England (90%) felt strongest about this followed by those in the South East (85%). It follows that a lack of commitment from central government will have a regional impact. 79% of people pointed the length of time it takes for decisions to be made as the most significant hurdle to change.
“It’s great to see that people across the country want see their areas improved and repurposed. However, it is clear that speed is the issue more than ambition says Romal Capital’s CEO Greg Malouf. Regeneration and planning have a lot of due process and extensive local bureaucracy, and it is this that needs to be restructured to get things going. Local authorities need more support and resources to streamline these processes and fast track regeneration of these sites.”
What to do with all this space?
A 2020 report from the countryside charity CPRE found there was over 25,000 hectares of brownfield land across 21,000 sites in the UK. Enough to fit over 1 million homes.
The survey discovered that almost a third (30%) of people would most like to see cultural landmarks built on this unused, derelict land, while a similar amount (29%) want to see modern, efficient homes and communities built to help solve the nations crippling housing crisis. When it comes to regenerated outdoor space, over a quarter, (26%) are in favour of new recreational facilities.
“Many people are desperate for somewhere permanent to live and keen to see former industrial and undeveloped areas turned into new, progressive housing neighbourhoods and community hubs.” says Malouf “The authorities must become far more proactive and flexible to allow this to happen.”